Ted Sims wasn't the most heralded football player, coming from Newton (Kan.) High School to Manhattan two years ago. But he did have the accolades that proved he was a Division-I football player.
He was first-team Class 5A for Newton, and became the first freshman in coach Brent Glenn's program to earn a varsity letter his freshman year. He was first-team All-State for all classes, and led the team and state in unassisted tackles.
But at K-State, Sims was as yet unproven. He redshirted his freshman season, and saw action in just three games last year — his only tackle coming against Louisiana-Monroe.
But with the premature departure of Terry Pierce at middle linebacker, Sims battled his way past heralded recruit Marvin Simmons and tucked himself right on starter Matt Butler's hip.
Even as the No. 2, however, Sims had been getting playing time. Against Massachusetts, Sims replaced Butler on nearly every third down play, resulting in a then-career high eight tackles. He also recorded a team-high two sacks — the first of his career — for 18 yards.
But Sims was just itching for his chance, and he got it last weekend against Texas.
Butler went down after a collision and Sims was brought on to replace him.
He responded, spearheading a defense that was looking for a spark. The Cats rallied around Sims' team-high 15 tackles and two more sacks for 10 yards, shutting down the Longhorns in the second half.
"What I really like about Ted," coach Bill Snyder said, "is that he entered the ballgame as the number two, went on the trip not knowing if he'd step on the field or not, and prepared himself for the opportunity."
The opportunity has been dually rewarded, with Sims now penciled in as the starter on the most recent depth chart. Snyder, however, was quick to point out that it isn't because Butler won't be available.
"Matt will be fine," Snyder said. "He'll play. But right now (Sims) is working number one because of his performance, not that Matt can't go.
"It could stay that way. We'll see."
While Sims has been valuable on special teams all season, and despite being ever-so-close to Butler on the two-deep, Snyder said the 6-foot-1, 230 pound sophomore may finally have stepped out of the shadows.
"He works hard at it," Snyder said. "Studies film, does extra work on his own. He's a focused practice player, kind of an ideal guy for a coach. He's always on a high intensity level. You like that in young guys."
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